Bradbury, John (1867-1936)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1919
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1931
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1919
First page of a letter sent by John Bradbury to Joseph Farrow Redhead, June 1908 (see comment below for the story behind the letter)
David Redhead
side 2
David Redhead

Early years

John was born in 1867 at Derby, Derbyshire.


Wherever John ‘travelled’ he left his mark, not only on his churches and circuits, but upon municipal and social life. He not only served his own churches loyally, he fought the ‘peoples fight’ of righteousness and truth. Believing, as a ‘practical mystic,’ that the true minister should be the servant of all, and that the Kingdom of God on earth requires purity in public affairs, he did not hesitate to use the Press, or, as in Grimsby and Blackpool, by appointment, the Council Chamber, to ‘declare the whole counsel of God.’

John served as Secretary of the Candidates Examining Committee.

He wrote regularly for the PM Church magazines and was one of the men who helped to found the Primitive Methodist Leader. For a number of years John wrote a devotional article each week.


John married Gertrude Wain (1872-1957) in late 1895 at Derby, Derbyshire. Census returns identify three children.

  • Dora Wain (1898-1973)
  • Charles Gilbert (1900-1960) – a bank manager (1957)
  • Nellie Lyndall (1904-1983) – married John L Selvey in 1929

John died on 4 September 1936 at Blackpool, Lancashire.


  • 1890 Nottingham II
  • 1893 Goole
  • 1897 Sheffield V
  • 1899 Hull II
  • 1901 Grimsby I
  • 1909 Blackpool
  • 1916 Matlock
  • 1920 Middlesbrough I
  • 1924 Derby III
  • 1927 Derby III (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1919/708; 1931/268; 1932/693

Methodist Minutes 1937/185

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference.

Comments about this page

  • I hope the Rev John Bradbury took more care with his hand-writing when submitting his “devotional” articles to the editor of the Primitive Methodist Leader than he did when writing to my grandfather in June 1908. I have two more letters from him which are just as illegible!

    Whilst being critical of the hand-writing I cannot be critical of the content of the letter, as far as I can make it out! It is a sympathetic letter written to a man in anguish and it offers him some good advice, which my grandfather took.

    Why was my grandfather, Joseph Farrow Redhead, in anguish? For the second year in a row he had failed to finish far enough up the Primitive Methodist Ministers Candidate examination list to be accepted for training. Put succinctly, the good advice was to try and put it behind him and get on with the “noble” life he already led in the name of God as a Local Preacher and servant of his local church.

    The good advice held until the Great War. My grandfather served on the Western Front but, being a signaller attached to a Corps HQ unit, survived physically undamaged. However, the strain of being separated from a loving wife and young family plus, I suspect, some of the things he witnessed in the final push led to him reporting sick a few days before the war ended suffering from a nervous breakdown.

    Back home his troubled mental state led to the anguish of failing to become a Primitive Methodist Minister to arise again and my father, who was about 11 at the time, told me he became rather obsessional about it. Amongst the mounds of family memorabilia in my possession I have found a draft letter, dated 1921, my grandfather wrote to the Rev Bradbury asking for his guidance. It makes slightly troubled reading, but I suspect he never sent it and, if he did, the illegible reply did not survive.

    I arrived on earth some 23 years after he wrote this draft letter. I am pleased to be able to report that during the first sixteen years of my life I frequently enjoyed the company of my grandfather. I found him slightly eccentric but a loving, caring and fun-to-be-with Grandpa. I suspect my Auntie Connie & Auntie Lilian, who arrived together four months after the draft letter was written, were a major part of the healing process. They were the longed-for girls as the young family my Grandfather missed during the Great War consisted of four boys.

    Copy of double-sided letter to be sent by email. (Editor’s note: this has now been added to the page)

    By David Redhead (30/04/2019)
  • The font at Salem Methodist Church, Layton, Blackpool, has a memorial plaque reading “A Remembrance of the Minister under whose guidance this Church came first into being. Rev. John Bradbury, Blackpool 1909-16”

    By Berenice (04/06/2017)

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